So, you’ve mastered a couple of chords and licks, and now you want something new to add to your guitar playing?
Why not take up effects pedals?
If you’re not really familiar with this type of equipment, choosing the right pedal for your needs can be pretty tough.
Lucky for you, I’ve decided to make this article, in which we will go over the absolute basics, as well as some of the best models of chorus pedals you can find online.
So, let’s get right to it!
Top 5 Chorus Pedals This Year
|1.||Donner Tutti Love|
|2.||Deadbeat Sound Wet Dreams|
|4.||Electro Harmonix Small Clone|
The Pedal Basics to Know
First of all, we need to define exactly what a chorus pedal does.
A chorus pedal is used to achieve the effect of multiple instruments, in this case, guitars, playing at the same time, with a slight difference in timing and pitch.
Basically, you’re getting the effect of a much wider and more spacious sound. Everything you play through this kind of pedal will sound thicker and more consistent.
You can also think of this effect as a type of delay. The original signal of your guitar is taken, cloned, slightly modified, and mixed into the output signal, mimicking the sound of multiple guitars being played at the same time.
Unlike delay, chorus is much more subtle and is mainly used to shape the sound of the guitar and not really modify it that much.
Controls – How to Shape the Tone and Control the Effect
Each type of effects pedal has its own basic set of controls used for shaping the sound and the effect that’s being applied.
As far as chorus effect goes, the most common controls include tone, effect level, depth, and rate.
Each of the mentioned parameters is pretty straightforward, with the depth and rate knobs being used for the actual repetition of the original signal in the output mix.
Depending on the model, you might get slightly more limited controls, or, in some cases, even more parameters to play around with.
So, what’s the bottom line?
It’s all about you, and how you want to use the chorus pedal. If you’re an absolute beginner and want a simple and effective effect, go with a more minimalistic, straightforward model.
On the other hand, having more control over the effect gives you a wider range of options, and will help you with learning about all the details that make the tone of your guitar.
What to Look for in a Pedal?
Now that you at least have a rough idea of what you’re looking for, it’s time to address a couple of features and specs you should look for.
Build quality is always an important factor, especially when you’re looking at a piece of equipment such as pedals.
As they are going to be placed on the ground and stepped on, they should be sturdy enough not to break after just a couple of months.
Pot size may not be that important if you plan on using your pedals at home, but on stage, this can be a pretty big deal.
Being able to easily adjust any parameters when on a poorly lit stage can make a huge difference.
Pedal size can also be an important factor, especially if you already have a pedalboard, or plan on getting/making one.
Bigger pedals offer more room for more dials and knobs but don’t leave much space for other effects on your pedalboard.
If you don’t really need anything advanced, there are great models on the market with an insanely small footprint, without any sacrifice in terms of sound quality and performance.
Battery or wall adapter? While most pedals give you both options, there are certain advantages and disadvantages in both types of power delivering.
Using a 9V battery means fewer cables and gives you more flexibility in terms of actual positioning.
However, using a wall adapter relieves you of having to think about how much juice your battery is left with.
Finally, it’s time to take a closer look at my pick of the 5 best effects pedals for chorus!
Reviews of the Best Chorus Pedals
- Donner Tutti Love
Starting out with the most budget-friendly option on the market, we have the Tutti Love by Donner.
This brand is known for making extremely convenient and incredibly small effects pedals that are not only inexpensive but sound pretty good as well.
This candy bar-sized pedal may look somewhat like a toy, but it’s actually pretty well made.
With aluminum as the material of choice, the Tutti Love is sturdy but definitely lightweight. The stomp switch feels pretty durable as well, but the knobs, especially the smaller ones are kind of wobbly and generally feel a bit cheap.
It’s pretty obvious that a pedal as small as this one doesn’t really have much room for any advanced controls. The big pot in the middle controls the rate of the chorus effect, while the two smaller ones are used for tuning in the wanted level and depth.
As far as the effect goes, it’s pretty transparent, subtle yet definitely present and effective. The range of the effect level isn’t crazy wide, but it allows for some interesting sounds and tones.
- Small and compact
- Straightforward and easy to use
- True bypass
- Overall good value for the money
- The smaller knobs could be more sturdy
- No option for using it with a 9V battery
So, if you’re looking for an inexpensive chorus pedal that’s easy to use and sounds pretty good, the Tutti Love by Donner is one of the best options on the market at this moment.
- Deadbeat Sound Wet Dreams
Continuing with under $100 chorus pedals, at number 2, we have the Wet Dreams by Deadbeat Sound. Or should I say, you’ll have wet dreams if you get this pedal, at least so say the good people from Deadbeat Sound!
Jokes aside, this chorus pedal is probably one of the most underrated ones, at least in this price range. The overall build quality and the sound versatility it provides make for a great chorus pedal that’s definitely worth considering.
In terms of controls, you’ve got your standard depth, speed, and level knobs. They are pretty precise and well crafted, much like the body of the pedal itself.
But how does it sound? The actual performance of this pedal is what makes it so good. You can easily go from just a slightly modulated sound, to a full-on vortex of psychedelic ‘70s sound. This makes it very versatile and suitable for a bunch of different genres.
- Solid build
- Very versatile
- True bypass
- Natural sounding
- Could offer a bit more saturated sound
- Can’t be used with 9V batteries
For just over $50, the Wet Dreams by Deadbeat Sound offer great value for the money.
- MXR M234
MXR is one of the most popular brands when it comes to guitar effects pedals. Their M234 analog chorus pedal show exactly why so many musicians prefer this brand to the competitor ones.
As an analog pedal, the M234 manages to keep all the details and traits of your guitar’s natural sound.
What’s even better, is the fact that this model utilizes bucket brigade circuitry, meaning that the “time modulation” of the signal is done at a much higher level than in most other analog pedals.
Control-wise, you have the level, rate, and depth, as well as 2 additional knobs above the mentioned ones. They are used for adding or eliminating the lows or highs, giving you extra room for EQ-ing your tone on the pedal as well as on your amp/guitar.
Given the expanded controls, it’s no wonder that the M234 covers a pretty wide range of different sounds. You can basically get anything from slight modulations to truly amazing choir-like tones.
The overall sound quality is very good, and your guitar will sound natural with the pedal turned on or off!
- Great for both beginners and more advanced guitarists
- A very broad range of effects
- Sounds much more natural than other pedals
- Overall amazing value for the money
- The knobs could be more solid
No matter what kind of chorus effect you may be looking for, the M234 by MXR has got you covered!
- Electro Harmonix Small Clone
The Small Clone by Electro Harmonix was the chorus pedal of choice of Curt Cobain when he recorded and played the famous song “Come as you are”. I don’t really think more needs to be said in terms of introducing this model.
If you’re looking for a pedal that can take a beating and still work like it’s new, look no further than the Small Clone. It’s one of the most sturdy models on this list.
While the controls are pretty basic, that doesn’t mean you are limited in terms of various tonal options.
The big rate knob is used for dialing in well, the rate of the effect and the actual speed and presence, and the depth switch toggles between the more subtle or intense signal modulation.
So what exactly does this pedal offer? Pretty much anything from a sound of a 12-string guitar to more discreet variations of the effect, depending on the parameter settings.
- Great for various genres, from jazz and rock to heavy metal
- Amazingly sturdy and longlasting
- Easy to use yet very versatile
- On the expensive side
The Small Clone by Electro Harmonix is a good investment that will last you a long time!
- Boss CH-1
And finally, at number 5, we have the CH-1 Stereo Super Chorus by Boss. This pedal has been the model of choice of many musicians for over 20 years now, and here’s exactly why.
Due to the detailed controls it offers, it will suit your playing style, genre, as well as the specific guitar you’re using quite nicely if you know your way around the actual parameters.
You can adjust the effect level, rate, and depth, as well as the EQ. Having separate EQ controls on any pedal is a great idea, and the CH-1 is no exception.
Whether it’s a thin and discreet sound you’re seeking, or an aggressive and heavily modulated one, the CH-1 gives you all that and everything that’s in-between.
What really makes the CH-1 so special, is the ability to connect it to an additional amp or amp input, so you can really take the chorus effect to a whole new level.
- Sounds amazing with both clean and distorted tone
- Good level of controls
- Stereo output option
- Power supply not included
- May be too expensive for beginners
While the CH-1 by Boss may be too pricey for some, the performance and value you get are at a much higher level than most other, competitor models have to offer.
So, we’ve seen that different brands and models offer relatively different types of approach to the chorus effect. Which one should you get?
The fact that it offers the EQ controls and is more than capable of delivering a pretty wide range of different tones and effect variations makes it a great investment for both new and more experienced guitar players.
Which model did you find to be the most interesting?
I sincerely hope that this article was fun to read and most importantly, helpful.
As always, thank you for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one!